Regional Post Graduate IP Program Launched in Zimbabwe

Geneva, August 8, 2008

In a bid to address the human resource needs of African countries in the field of intellectual property (IP), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in collaboration with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO, Harare, Zimbabwe) and Africa University (Mutare, Zimbabwe) has launched a masters degree program in IP.  Twenty students from diverse backgrounds (including law, engineering, business administration, information technology, library sciences and journalism) have enrolled in the postgraduate program which is the first of its kind in Africa.  The students come from 12 African countries (Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).  Similar programs are being tailored to the specific IP educational needs of other regions. 

The 12 month program which began on August 4, 2008 will conclude on July 31, 2009 and will consist of three phases, namely, distance learning, a residential phase at Africa University, including practical training at ARIPO and a research project.
A number of high level Government officials participated in the launch of the program in Mutare on August 4, 2008.  The Acting Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Paul Mangwana, commended WIPO for facilitating the development of requisite competencies in IP. The program is a response to the critical need to develop human resources in IP and is designed to meet the specific challenges that confront African countries in matters relating to IP.  The Deputy Minister for Tertiary Education, Mr. L. D. K. Dokora, noted that the first group of students would lay a solid foundation upon which to build the program’s future success.  The Provincial Governor and Resident Minister of Manikaland Province, Mr. Chigudu, applauded the institutional partners responsible for launching the program in Africa which he said was an important step towards empowering the Africa continent to foster a culture of IP.
The Interim Vice Chancellor of Africa University, Professor Fanuel Tagwira, thanked WIPO and ARIPO and stressed the need for universities to develop IP-oriented academic programs relevant to the human resource needs of the African countries.  The Director General of ARIPO, Mr. Gift Sibanda, noted that exploitation and commercialization of the abundance of IP assets that existed in Africa lay in the creation of a pool of IP experts who possessed the knowledge and skills necessary to boost social, economic and technological development.  The Dean of the WIPO Worldwide Academy, Mr. Mpazi Sinjela, spoke of the fundamental importance of IP education which had a pivotal role to play in enabling countries to advance their social, economic, cultural and technological development. He said that he was convinced that the program would, in the long run, enable the African continent to harness its wealth of natural and creative resources and generate tangible developmental benefits. 
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